Pastors' Memoirs

Robert McCleary Marshall, III, 1944-2001

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The earthly journey began November 23, 1944, when Myrtle Brown Marshall, the wife of George Lowery Marshall, gave birth to a son, Robert. Robert spent his early years in Arlington where he attended and joined Arlington Forest Methodist Church. The seeds of his faith were sown as he participated in the children’s and youth programs.

Following high school, he attended Florida State University, earning a B.A. degree. After college, he entered the U.S. Air Force, served in Vietnam from 1966-1967, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. Following his military service, he worked in the field of journalism.

Robert, like so many of his day, drifted away from the church. He struggled to find his place in God’s world and found little personal and professional satisfaction. His early training had given him a foundation in the faith, which led him back to the church in his search to discover God’s plan for his life.

During the struggle, he realized God had been calling him to ministry since his youth and he had spent many years running from that call. He answered God’s call with a resounding "yes." He entered seminary in the early 1980s, with the assistance of a Hollis Williams Scholarship awarded by Arlington Forest United Methodist Church, to better prepare himself to serve where God could use him. Sensing God’s call to serve in Virginia, Robert was ordained a deacon and received on probation in 1984. In 1988, he was ordained an elder and received into full connection.

From 1984-1995, he served Manassas Church, West Franklin Charge, Parnassas-Sangerville, and Middleburg. Following a stroke while attending the 1995 annual conference, he was granted a disability leave in 1996. He continued to share God’s love to those with whom he had contact. He felt his calling had not ended with the stroke, but had been given a new direction.

Robert leaves behind a lovely daughter, Elizabeth Regina Marshall; a sister, Edith May Dozier; a brother, George Lowery Marshall Jr.; and many friends. His death has left a void in our lives, but the memories will live forever.

The earthly journey ended for God’s servant on November 25, 2001. It is fitting that we commend him to the Master in order that he might spend eternity enjoying the company of the God he served so faithfully.

— The Rev. J. Wade Munford



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